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Els Maintains Lead at Heineken Classic - 2002-02-01

South Africa's Ernie Els has retained his lead at the $2 million dollar Heineken Classic at Royal Melbourne.

Under a stinging sun here in Melbourne, Els stamped his authority on the Heineken Classic with a sparkling patch of golf near the turn, making four birdies in five holes. The two times U.S. Open Champion was pleased with his second round of 69, to go 11 under for the tournament, although he admitted to finding the quick greens challenging.

"The greens are very slopy and it seemed like yesterday I was in the right place all the time," Els said, "and today I found myself on some difficult spots and I couldn't quite make those putts."

He's three strokes ahead of four players, including Australians Greg Norman and Peter O'Malley. New Zealander, Richard Lee may not be a household name in golfing circles but his name will be forever etched on the honors board here at Royal Melbourne. He broke the 21-year-old course record, shooting a 10-under-par round of 62. In contrast, America's John Daly just survived the cut by one shot , finishing even par after a second round of 73. Douglas Labelle is the best of the Americans at four under.